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Public Works
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 | Traffic Questions and Answers
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Q & A

Q1. At some signalized intersections in Torrance, there are camera-like devices at the top of the signal poles pointed in each direction. What are they?
A1. Those devices are video detection cameras to detect the motion and presence of vehicles as they approach intersections with traffic signals.  When a camera detects a vehicle or vehicles, the camera alerts the traffic signal controller.  The controller responds by either turning the light green or by extending a green light in increments of a few seconds, if needed, to clear a longer queue of vehicles.  If a vehicle is not detected in a left-turn lane, the traffic signal controller will "skip" that left-turn phase to avoid a needless delay to opposing through traffic.

The video detection cameras are a newer method of vehicle detection for traffic signals and replace the detector loops that existed within the roadway surface.  The cameras have been installed at several intersections throughout the City, including ones along Artesia, Torrance, and Sepulveda Boulevards, 190th Street, and Madrona Avenue.

Q2. Residents in our neighborhood are concerned about motorists speeding on our street. How can the City help us with this concern?
A2. The Torrance Public Works Department receives several calls each year from residents concerned with motorists that drive over the speed limit on their residential streets. Speeding is a behavioral issue that is caused by several reasons, including the demand of our increasingly busy lives. Nevertheless, a motorist driving over the speed limit has the potential to jeopardize the safety of others. Therefore, the City responds to and/or addresses a resident's concern by using one or more of the measures listed below.

  • Selective speed enforcement by the Torrance Police Department. This measure is highly effective but may be limited by available resources.
  • The use of a radar speed trailer or a solar radar feedback sign. The trailer and sign display the speed at which a vehicle is traveling in comparison to the posted speed limit. Both are effective at reminding a motorist of the speed limit and their responsibility to drive safely. These devices have been proven to be effective in reducing vehicular speeds. Many times, they are used in advance of an enforcement detail.
  • The installation of a permanent speed limit sign to advise a motorist of the posted legal speed limit.  Although a permanent sign may be installed, it can serve only as a reminder to a motorist and only assists with enforcement efforts.

 

Q3. Can the City install a 25 MPH speed limit sign on my street?
A3. The 25 MPH speed limit for a local (residential) street is established by the California Vehicle Code. Accordingly, it is not required to post a 25 MPH speed limit sign on a local street for the Torrance Police to perform speed enforcement with a radar "gun." Typically, a resident requests a 25 MPH speed limit sign with the belief that the sign will correct, reduce, or eliminate all "speeding" on their street. However, this usually is not the case and selective speed enforcement is recommended. Nevertheless, the City's Traffic Engineer may investigate and recommend that a 25 MPH speed limit sign be posted at the entrance to a residential neighborhood near its intersection with an arterial or collector roadway with a higher speed limit. The 25 MPH speed limit sign notifies a motorist that they are entering a lower speed zone. For all other locations that a 25 MPH is requested, the City also performs an investigation before making a determination.

 

Q4. Does the City install speed bumps on local (residential) streets?
A4. Currently, the City of Torrance does not allow or approve of the installation of speed bumps, speed humps or speed cushions on local streets.  Although there are several contributing factors, the primary reasons are:
  • Speed bumps, humps and cushions can cause an increase in the response time for emergency vehicles; and
  • Speed bumps, humps and cushions can cause a diversion of traffic to other nearby residential streets.

Other potential negatives resulting from the use of speed bumps include an increase in noise levels as vehicles decelerate/accelerate at each speed bump and an increase in maintenance costs.

To address concerns for speeding vehicles, the City prefers to investigate and/or perform selective traffic enforcement as needed.